Chicago Architecture is one of a kind!
I am proud to display these paintings of my Chicago Historic House Portrait Collection.
It is a well known fact that the architecture of Chicago has influenced and reflected upon the history of American architecture. Chicago’s imaginative architecture displays the city’s fascinating history and its multicultural heritage. It features a variety of styles designed by many prominent architects. Sadly, in the downtown area, most structures were destroyed by the Great Chicago Fire in 1871 (the most famous exception being the Water Tower), therefore Chicago buildings are mainly noted for their originality.
My series of paintings goes beyond the downtown area and its towering skyscrapers. I wandered through the vibrant neighborhoods and drove down leafy residential streets and soon discovered why Chicago uniqueness is world-famous. From modest Chicago Bungalows to Frank Lloyd Wright creations, bold Mid-Century Modern homes, charming Tudors, Italianates, Colonial Revivals, Queen Ann beauties and Victorian Two-Flats to the grand Greystones along Logan Boulevard, I concluded that ‘architecturally’ Chicago has it all!
Having said that, I was disheartened to learn from some of the owners of the homes in my Chicago series, that beautiful 100+ year old homes are being torn down in their neighborhoods. While Chicago still has an incredible array of historic subjects I have learned that it is also a leader for historic demolitions.
Being that my mission is saving communities and culture through my art, I feel my Chicago series of house portraits represents and portrays the personality of this great city. Any building with history has a story and once it is destroyed it is lost forever. My goal is to leave a legacy of Chicago architecture that will help tell these stories in every painting and with each brushstroke.
My series includes homes in 15 architectural styles and spans a number of my favorite neighborhoods including Lincoln Park, Lower West Side, Lake View, Portage Park, Kenwood, Norwood Park, Beverly and DePaul. There are also subjects within the outskirts of Chicago, namely Park Ridge and River Forest.
The Classic Chicago Bungalow
Let’s start with these simple but endearing homes. Chicago bungalows were mainly built between 1910 and 1940 for working class families. They were usually constructed of brick (many including decorative designs and accents), with one-and-a-half stories as well as a full basement. There are 80,000 bungalows in Chicago and this style represents nearly one-third of Chicago’s single-family housing.
Two-Flat and other Victorians
I found a really helpful reference to the unique architectural styles of Chicago in a Curbed Chicago article and I am using their info here.
The Victorian two-flat is often referred to as the workhorse of Chicago housing. It was typically built from 1900 to 1920, these homes were a bridge for the working class between apartment life and the single family bungalows that followed. Usually, the owner lived on the first floor, and the second floor was rented out. Two-flats were made of wood, brick, or stone and found in a variety of architectural styles. This Two-Flat house portrait below was built in the early 1900’s and has a Victorian layout. As is the case with many of these houses, they were converted into one home as is the case here. My clients and the owners of this house have lived there for decades and have steadily and lovingly made improvements over time.
Edwardian Style Homes
Queen Anne Style Victorians
Italianate Style Homes
Frank Lloyd Wright Chicago Home
Classic Chicago Colonial Revivals
Tudor Homes in Chicago
Tudor homes experienced a revival in Chicago and throughout the United States. Mainly built of stone and brick they were a perfect fit for the Chicago climate and for the tastes of its Chicago residents. Like the Arts and Crafts movement, Tudors were also a protest against the mass produced Victorians of the industrial era, and a move toward more hand-crafted homes and features. This can be seen very clearly with this Tudor home.
Lakeside Apartment Building
In the early 1900s, all along Chicago’s lakefront from the Gold Coast to the northern boundaries of Lincoln Park.
I was commissioned to create this painting of The Marlborough. Referencing this information from Chicago.Designslinger The building was designed by architect Robert DeGolyer who also designed other luxury apartment buildings in the early 1900’s along Chicago’s lakefront, from the Gold Coast to the northern boundaries of Lincoln Park. At the Marlborough, DeGolyer chose Adamesque details, a style named for 18th century British architect Robert Adam, to finish out the exterior. It was an appropriate choice given that Duke of Marlborough built one of the most impressive houses ever constructed in Britain.
Mid-Century Modern Homes
As in most large and architecturally interesting cities in America, Chicago has it share of Mid-Century Modern homes and many such as these well loved homes, have unique features. My favorite source of Mid-Century Modern homes was in the Beverly neighborhood, as you can see here.
I hope you have enjoyed this mini-tour of Chicago architecture and feel I have represented the personality of this great city. Most of these hand-crafted original portraits that capture the special memories of each homes are now proudly on display inside these lovely Chicago houses. If you would like me to create a special painting of your Chicago home, just get in touch!
Feel free to check out my galleries of different architectural styles around the USA.